• Some of the areas you need to explore include the Lukanga Swamps.
• This is owing to its importance in addressing the water-energy food nexus in the country.
• Under the K167 billion 2023 national budget, there is an environmental sustainability pillar.
Minister of Finance and National Planning has challenged the business community to explore and showcase the number of benefits that Nature Based Solutions provide in addressing water-energy-food nexus.
Officiating at the Nature Based Solutions (NBS) Investors Forum under World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Green Heart for Africa, Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane also urged the investors to take advantage of the available opportunities that government has created to provide Nature Based Solutions.
Dr. Musokotwane said one of the opportunities that the business community can leverage on is government’s acquisition of US$300 million from the World Bank to develop farm blocks such as Nansanga in Central Province, Luswishi on the Copperbelt and Luena in Luapula Province.
He stated that the financing is concessional with a maturity period of 30 years and grace period of 5 years.
“Some of the areas you need to explore include the Lukanga Swamps, owing to its importance in addressing the water-energy food nexus in the country.”
He added that Bank of Zambia is also working with stakeholders to provide Credit Guarantee for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which will start in 2023, while cooperating partners have provided a US$20 million Loan Guarantee Scheme for SMEs through the financial sector.
“It is now up to the business community to look at ways through which we can respond to these opportunities in a way that will be beneficial to community livelihoods. The onus now sits with the people in this room to rise up and provide direction and leadership on what needs to be done for the sake of the future,” Dr. Situmbeko said.
He further stated that under the K167 billion 2023 national budget, there is an environmental sustainability pillar where government has commenced sensitization among potential Green Bond Issuers and Investors across the country.
“This will feed into the pipeline of potential development projects to be financed through Green Bonds. This Nature Based Solutions Forum by WWF’s Blue Heart of Africa has come at the right time. This is because we can now analyse and understand areas we potentially need to improve for the future. The Forum is very important to not only Zambia by Africa as a whole he stated.
He was speaking in a speech read on his behalf by Ministry’s Director-Monitoring and Evaluation, Prudence Kaoma.
Speaking at the same event, WWF Zambia Country Director Nachilala Nkombo said there is need for stakeholders to design projects that can attract financing to combat climate related threats.
Ms. Nkombo stated that there is also need to look at nature to fight climate change effectively and meet development challenges.
She noted that Zambia has put has put itself forward as a champion for nature based solutions, adding that WWF has made commitments at various COPs to deliver zero emissions.
“Climate change solutions will benefit several sectors such as water, energy and agriculture. There is need to look at capacities on how the ecosystems can be reinforced,” she stated.
And WWF International Blue Heart for Africa Lead based in Kenya, Eric Oyare notes that the African Continent is grappling with a lot of climate related threats, hence the need for environmental conservationists to work around already formulated global frameworks on adaptation, while looking at an integrated approach on how to have a mix of environmental protection.